Stratford-based Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. has achieved three milestones in its $1.24 billion agreement with the U.S. Navy to replace the presidential helicopter fleet with 21 operational and two test aircraft.
Sikorsky, a former subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. in Hartford and now part of Lockheed, said it had successfully completed the “VH-92A Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program Preliminary Design Review,” completed the integration and performance testing of communications system components and accepted the second S-92A aircraft for the program.
“Completing these three milestones on or ahead of schedule is a fantastic accomplishment,” Spencer Elani, Sikorsky VH-92A program director said. “We are committed to executing this program on time and within budget. These achievements keep this program moving forward.”
In May 2014, the Navy awarded a $1,244,677,064 “fixed-price incentive engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) contract with production options to Sikorsky” for the new fleet.
The helicopters are planned for use beginning in 2020, with production concluding in 2023. Under the contract, Sikorsky will use its in-production S-92 aircraft and integrate “government-defined mission systems,” plus install what is termed “an executive interior.”
The preliminary design review was completed Aug. 21. It allowed the VH-92A team to successfully demonstrate the preliminary design for the VH-92A aircraft, the company reported.
“Completing this step signals that the program is ready to proceed into detailed design (critical design review),” Sikorsky said in a statement.
“This is but one of many steps toward the replacement for our Presidential Fleet of helicopters,” said U.S. Marine Corps Col. Robert Pridgen, program manager for the Naval Air Systems Command’s Presidential Helicopters Program Office. “I am pleased how effectively we’ve gotten out of the gate and established a solid foundation on which we’ll mature the detailed design work of this important program.” He called the program team “focused and disciplined.”
Sikorsky accepted the second S-92A aircraft for the VH-92A program Sept. 3 when it was flown from Sikorsky’s commercial aircraft facility in Coatesville, Pa., to Stratford. That aircraft has begun the modification process.
Engineering Development Model O, the first S-92A helicopter for the VH-92A program, completed a round of testing Aug. 25. More than 80 hours of ground and flight testing was conducted over the course of three months in Owego, N.Y., site of system integrator Lockheed Martin, Sikorsky’s principal supplier on the program.
Lockheed Martin Corp. said earlier this month it had closed its $9 billion acquisition of Sikorsky from UTC.
According to an SEC filing by Lockheed Martin and reported online, the company borrowed $6 billion to partially fund the transaction. The reports also said Lockheed’s Dan Schultz, a vice president, will be the president of Sikorsky and it will keep its headquarters in Stratford.
This article was edited to reflect the Lockheed deal.
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